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Are You Helping or Controlling?

For some of us, we find ourselves in the centre of our friends or family, being the go-to person for help. We run errands for our partners, help our parents with their finances, take the kids to their sports practices, while trying to cook dinner, get the laundry done and by the end of it there's no time to finish that online course we enrolled in. We get overwhelmed, but we're grateful to be able to serve the ones we love.

At the same time, running ourselves ragged while being in the centre of things poses a few issues: it creates co-dependency on those who would otherwise be empowered, it allows us to feel overly important and needed, puts us in a position to control others, and it also allows us to ignore the important things we just might be procrastinating on.

Soooo many wins for the ego.

Co-dependency comes from a good place I think. We want to help, and offer what we can to be of service. It's when that other person stops trying to help themselves and relies on you instead that's the problem. This can go on for so long that the other person might not feel capable of doing things without us anymore and that's where the neediness comes in. It's also where our egos step in too. Altruism often starts off pure but can quickly get distorted by praise.

If we really want to help, we need to get back to the true essence of service, the ol' 'teach a man to fish' adage. If they can learn the skill you're offering, teach them and back away. If they aren't suited to learning that skill, help them be resourceful, show them other resources besides you so they're not wholly dependent on you and then leave them to it. Of course, leaving them to it is perhaps the hardest part, it means relinquishing control.

Control is a tricky one. We don't like to think of ourselves as controlling. But often with responsibility comes power (and vice versa), so it's easy to take over and suggest what we believe they should do rather than letting them decide for themselves. It's a delicate dance, because we only know our own perspectives shaped by our experiences and our opinions. So it's difficult to give completely unbiased advice.

Plus if we feel out of control in our own lives, it can become an outlet for us to exercise our will. We feel empowered when things go our way even if it's someone else's life because they're doing as we've instructed (the subconscious puppet master).

The opposite can be true that if we are trying to feel in control with someone else's life and things don't go our way, it can be very frustrating and disappointing.

The thing is, if we try to control others, we will always feel out of control.

As a teacher of mine once told me, 'People will do what you ask them to do, but they won't do it the same way you would'. The only person you can truly control is yourself, even the worst dictators in history surely learned that lesson the hard way.

And if you're so focused on controlling others, you're likely neglecting (whether on purpose or not) your own things to work on. It becomes a tool for procrastination. Helping can make us feel needed and give us a sense of purpose. But then we're not creating purpose for ourselves, we're actually piggy-backing it off of other people's issues, progress etc. So in that sense not only does co-dependency disempower those we're helping, we aren't stepping into power in our own lives.

We don't need to be needed by others. We're bigger than that. Each of us have the ability to share our skills and empower one another to make changes in our own lives. That's power. That's the true essence of altruism.

So, if you feel like you're exhausted being needed by everyone around you, consider how you can be more helpful by passing on your skills, helping them help themselves. That's a gift they'll truly be grateful for, and it'll give you your time back so you can build YOUR life beautiful.

~Wishing you a peaceful road, wherever it may take you <3

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